|On the Para Dressage podium on the final day of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA - the medallists from the Freestyle Grade 4 Championship - (left to right) Michele George BEL (silver), (centre) Sophie Wells GBR (gold) and (right) Frank Hosmar NED (bronze)|
Para Dressage rider Sophie Wells claimed Grade 4 Freestyle gold to put Great Britain at the top of the medal table as the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ came to a close at the Horse Park in Kentucky, USA today having attracted a massive attendance of over 500,000 spectators to the 16-day extravaganza. The British Para squad have been in fantastic form, scooping six individuals gold medals along with the team title. And Wells steered her 13 year old gelding Pinocchio to victory today despite a glitch in her test.
Belgium's Michele George took silver with FBW Rainman ahead of The Netherlands' Frank Hosmar and Tiesto in bronze.
Wells test began well. "i was quite happy with my trot but then when I picked up the walk he came against me and my first movement was a compulsory, which was a simple change, and he stopped!" she explained. Now she had make a quick decision. "I knew I had to find somewhere else in my plan where I could put in another simple change, so all the time I was going through my next movements I was trying to think where I could put it in, and I didn't want to mess up my floor plan because it's good and they give you marks for that as well - times three" she explained.
|Sophie Wells (GBR) - Pinocchio Gold medal Para Equestrian Grade IV Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Lexington - Kentucky 2010 Â© Dirk Caremans|
|Michele George (BEL) - FBW Rainman Silver medal Para Equestrian Grade IV Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Lexington - Kentucky 2010 Â© Dirk Caremans|
George was delighted with silver medal position with Rainman. "It was very good, I am flattered with that" she said. "I won the first day and the second day he got spooky from the flash of the cameras so I didn't have a chance that day and I said that today will be be my day, and fortunately it was. It was very nice" she explained. And she had every reason to be especially pleased, as her gelding is only eight years old. "This is the first big competition for him and me, so I am very glad" she added.
|Frank Hosmar (NED) and TiÃ«sto Bronze medal Para Equestrian Grade IV Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Lexington - Kentucky 2010 Â© Dirk Caremans|
The standard of today's competition was exceptional, but the standard throughout the entire Para Dressage Championship has been little short of extraordinary. And the USA's Mary Jordan put it into perspective when she said "this has been an incredible experience. As a member of the US team I crave more of this. I feel the more we get a chance to show in front of the these international judges we can make a name for ourselves and keep laying down solid performances that will get the judge's attention". Like many of her fellow-competitors this week she knows the sport is in good shape and she's looking forward to the future. "I'm really hopeful that this will ignite a passion amongst people at all levelss to get involved and support us as we move towards the London Olympic Games" she added.